Holy Mother

Avery first day

You know what’s “fun” about living with chronic anxiety? Sometimes the fear that looms ever-present in the back of my mind numbs me to my socially-acceptable feelings of anxiety. Avery’s first day of Kindergarten has been vague and looming. Her friends’ mothers have been getting teary-eyed, saying how just yesterday they were babies. I would nod as they lamented, but inside the feelings weren’t mutual. It crept up on me when the first day of school arrived and I looked in the mirror and saw myself, AND the mother of a kindergartner.

It’s like when you’re bending over the sink to wash your face at night and you feel vaguely vulnerable but when you look up there is another face behind you in the mirror and in a split second you go from anticipation to startled panic. (Side note: that actually happened to me recently and like the calm, quick-witted woman I am, I reacted by falling to the ground silent and breathless as if I’d been shot. If it would have been an attacker, he probably would have paused to laugh. Which also brings to mind the question, why don’t high schools offer Self Defense classes?)

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Getaway: 4th of July in Wisconsin

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If you follow me on Instagram (@MrsKansasMommy) you were probably bombarded with 4th of July posts from me! At least once a year we do a trip with two of my sorority sisters (Katie and Regan) and our families. We all live in different cities so we take turns going to different locations. This year, we all met up in Wisconsin at a lake house for 4th of July weekend.

Couple of things about these people:

  1. Highly educated, successful, and responsible.
  2. Career-driven, well-respected professionals.
  3. Expert SNL-quoters who enjoy drinking on boats and general shenanigans. (Reason #3 is how I fit into this group. Obviously.)

Here are some fun pictures from our Independence Day Weekend 2016:

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“I Wish You Weren’t A Liar”

(Bonus cool points if you got the SNL reference in the title.)

My soon-to-be three-year-old daughter Savannah has a birthmark on her forehead. It wasn’t there when she was born, but showed up around 2 weeks later and continued to get bigger and darker. For a while, we couldn’t go a single day without someone (usually both children and adults) commenting or somewhat rudely asking about it. I’m sure you other parents out there enjoy constantly explaining your child’s physical appearance to strangers as much as I do.

Savvy Day 1

Savvy 2 Months

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Potty-Training Tips? Don’t Ask Me.

Have you ever woken up one day and realized that a significant part of your life is spent wiping other people’s butts? It’s got to be the most humbling part of motherhood aside from actually birthing a child.

Like all first-time moms, when Avery was 15 months old I started pinning a bunch of “potty-training” tips on Pinterest and preparing to brag about how I did it in just a weekend (!) Then I gave up because it was too hard and she ended up potty training herself when she turned 3. Like, one day she just started using the toilet. I’m not sure how long I would have let her wear diapers if she hadn’t decided on her own, but I’m glad she made the decision, forcause ew. (“Forcause” is the word she invented and it’s too cute to correct so we are just making it a thing now.)

Now my second child is 2 years old and vaguely interested in being potty trained. And by vaguely I mean she enjoys sitting on the toilet fully clothed and then asking for treats. She also enjoys removing her diaper on her own and then, to put it delicately, forgetting she has done so after the crucial moment has passed.

When I think she’s finally going to use the potty, it turns out to be some sort of cruel toddler practical joke. She gets me all psyched up until I’m in such a frenzy of excitement and encouragement that I no longer sound like English is my native language. “You want marshmallow? You pee pee?! Make water in toilet, yes?” Then she just stands up and walks away, like, Nah. Should have seen your face though. Classic Peg!

Then there was the time a couple weeks ago when her older sister got really into knock-knock jokes and not to be outdone, she said, “Mommy, knock knock!” Thinking how adorable, I said with exaggerated anticipation, “Who’s there?!” Then she grinned and said, “I goed poop.” So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not great at potty-training but I’m doing a pretty good job raising a couple of smart-asses. And I couldn’t be prouder.

Should I make some tips for Pinterest?

Savannah 2

Other titles for this post:

“Wiping Smart Asses”

“Getting To The Bottom Of Potty-Training”

“No Ifs/Ands, Just Butts. All The Butts. So Many Butts.”

“Why Moms Are Always Pooped”

“‘My Hobby Is Butt-Wiping’ And Other Reasons I’m Glad I Don’t Have To Fill Out An Online Dating Profile”

“Generic Butt Pun. I’m Tired.”

The Loneliness of Never Being Alone

Mrs Kansas Mommy

Photo by Juliann Courtney

A friend of mine recently had a baby, and it got me thinking back to my first few weeks of motherhood. I cried a lot. When Avery was ten days old, I woke up, put on my makeup, cried it all off, and then continued crying for the entire day. My parents picked up my Grandmom and brought her over to meet Avery. I was so depressed (and depressing) that she actually ASKED them to take her back to the retirement home. How sh*tty of a hostess do you have to be before your own Grandmom is like, umm, listen, I know I live in a home, but you’re a real downer, kid.

Days after each of my beautiful children were born, I said to my husband, “This was a bad idea. It’s too hard. I don’t want to feel like this anymore.” I felt raw, vulnerable, and like I could never be by myself again. As an introvert, this terrified me. My battery drains quickly and I need to spend time by myself to recharge. With the obligation of nursing and pumping and diapers and laundry and bottle-washing it felt like there would never be time for me to just be me.

Now my girls are older and things are getting easier. One goes to preschool and the other is still with me 24/7 but that will change next year, so I’m cherishing the hours I get when it’s just us and she’s not overtaken by 2-year-old drama. My husband has a demanding career, so I’ve found myself “alone” a lot with my children. I often hear myself say, “Kevin’s traveling so I’m alone with the kids.” What is it about being responsible for another person 24/7 that makes you feel so lonely sometimes? It’s not like I’d have it any other way, but I do get burned out. As a wife and mother, I cycle between elation, annoyance, guilt, frustration, forgiveness, tenderness and amusement. And that’s by like, 9am. When I sing my babies to sleep at night, I’m relieved, but then I miss them and look at pictures of them on my phone.

And I just don’t know if I’ll ever stop feeling lonely.

So welcome to this sisterhood of motherhood, new mommies. No matter how lonely it gets, sometimes it can help to be reminded you’re not the only one.

Sister Wives: Savvy and Mommy’s trip to Orlando

The second week of December, Savvy and I headed down to Orlando for some much-needed girl time with my sorority sister Amanda and her daughter Mira.

Parenting tip #1: You are not allowed to bring your beer on the plane with you during family boarding.

Parenting tip #2: You will get some judgy looks if you then chug said beer, throw it in the trash, and hand the TSA agent your boarding pass.

Parenting tip #3: Lip gloss works as an effective, if messy, distraction tool on a flight. Toddlers in tiaras take note: rosy, voluptuous cheeks as an added bonus.

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The next day we had lunch in downtown Disney and strolled around the shops with the babies. Savannah must have sensed that there were some photo opportunities coming up because her posing game was en pointe.

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Spa Day at the Ritz for Amanda’s Birthday:

The Ritz Spa was the perfect venue choice for our girls day out in honor of Amanda’s birthday. We kicked off the morning with mani/pedis then headed over to the Ritz for a champagne toast on the terrace, followed by massages, followed by poolside drinks in the hot tub, followed by dinner al fresco at Rocco’s Tacos, followed by an Uber ride home from an Armenian smoothie-shop manager, followed by tv in bed in our jammies by 9pm. It was pretty much the dream.

Meanwhile Savvy and Mira were being pampered and having dance parties with not one, but two nannies. This is how they roll…

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“Bows up tell me how I’m lookin, bae”

Feeling Ritzy…

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Girls just wanna have champs.

I will note that this was the first time I have ever received a professional massage from a man. He called my name and I turned around to discover that he was what I can only describe as my dream version of myself as a beautiful-yet-masculine gay man. He was tall and fit, slender but not skinny. His hair had the most natural-looking unnatural blonde highlights. He had dreamy big brown eyes, a light golden tan, perfectly puffed lips, and not a wrinkle in sight. He was prettier than me on my prettiest day. I have no doubt the men all love him and the women all want to be him.

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Christmas Mani never looked so good.

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Refreshed and ready for tacos!

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Sunday was Amanda’s actual birthday and we spent the day with some of her family and friends at DisneyWorld. Savvy and Mira won’t remember it, but it was a warm December day that started in the Magic Kingdom and ended in Epcot at the Candle ceremony, a Christmas program narrated by the dad from Scandal. I found it unsettling to hear him reading these beautiful words, surrounded by a huge chorus dressed in robes because all I could think of was, B613.

(*whispers* “SCANDAL!”)

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Disney magic…

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Disney heartburn.

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Disney food coma.

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Disney diaper change.

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This is the play area where you wait “in line” for the dumbo ride while they give you a buzzer like at a restaurant. Genius!

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We took the girls on the iconic Dumbo ride. I still remember my first time at age 4!

We were in Orlando for five days, most of which were spent telling stories and talking about memories of Joe while laughing at our silly babies who were instant best buds. They were so sweet taking turns brushing eachothers hair and giving hugs and kisses. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what the week would hold, I just wanted to “be there.” What I found was that the moment you step into Amanda and Joe’s house you can feel his presence in a really comforting way. There are beautiful little signs all around…a plant spontaneously blooming, a shooting star in the sky, and of course a gorgeous little baby girl!

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Wait.

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Savannah’s new favorite word is “Wait!”

When my husband heads out the door for work in the morning, she toddles behind him shouting “Wait! Wait! Wait!” He stops and turns. This is where her limited vocabulary fails her, so she says everything else on her mind with a tiny triumphant smile that says, I won. I stopped you. I postponed the inevitable. She is rewarded with one more kiss then she toddles off to find a new treasure.

The thing is, I know exactly how she feels. Time is going by too fast. When I glance at Facebook the parents are the grandparents and the kids are the mommies and daddies. Souls are coming and going from the earth and babies are having birthdays and there is no way to stop time. I try to grasp it when I look at my children. I take mental pictures. Even as I scribble my thoughts on a notebook in the dark, sharing a blanket with two little girls as The Little Mermaid plays on TV, I know I shouldn’t be thinking about blogging, I should be kissing them and smelling them and absorbing them. Their tiny painted toenails are like little worry stones. What does a mommy do without tiny toes to hold?

It’s just going by too fast.

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